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Corporate Giving Programs – The Basics

Author: Lori Halley
June 2, 2014
🕑 4 min read

This is a guest post by Adam Weinger, President of Double the Donation.

You’ve likely heard of corporate giving programs, but do you know just how valuable they can be for your nonprofit organization? These programs are defined as charitable programs in which donations of money, volunteer hours, expertise, or equipment is made to nonprofit organization, usually in conjunction with employees.

Here are some of the most common types of corporate giving programs.

Matching Gift Programs:

What are they?

These programs allow an employee’s monetary donations to eligible nonprofit organizations to be matched by their employer, generally dollar for dollar. About 65% of Fortune 500 organizations, and many others, offer a matching gift program!

How do they work?

When an individual makes a donation to your nonprofit, they may be eligible to participate in their employer’s matching gift program (if one exists at the company). For example, if an individual donates $250, they may be able to get a $250 match from their employer, thereby doubling the donation! Some companies even double or triple the donation, depending on the program’s parameters.

The submission process is simple too. Donors should ask their employer for the appropriate matching gift forms, or where they can find the electronic portal, since many companies have streamlined the process to make it easier. Donors simply fill out the forms with their donation information and your nonprofit organization’s information, submit them, and then your organization receives a check with the matching donation.

Why should your organization promote these programs to your donors?

Matching gift programs are one of the largest untapped sources of funding for nonprofit organizations, with billions of dollars left behind annually, and there’s just no reason for it! Your nonprofit organization can benefit by promoting matching gift programs to your donors. Chances are, they don’t know if their employer offers this kind of program, but with your help and assistance, donors can easily double their donation simply by filling out the appropriate forms with their employer.

Here is some number crunching, if you need more encouragement: Giving USA data from 2012 shows that corporations donated more than $18.1 billion to charities. According to the most recent CECP (formerly known as the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy) edition of “Giving in Numbers: 2013,” a median of 12% of total corporate cash giving was made up of matching gifts. This equates to more than $2 billion in matching gift donations!

Thousands of companies have matching gift programs. Here is a list of some of the strongest matching gift programs offered by corporations.

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Volunteer Grant Programs:

What are they?

Volunteer grant programs are different than matching gift programs in that they help your organization earn monetary grants from corporations through employee donations of time. When an employee volunteers for a certain number of hours with your organization, they may be eligible to apply for a corporate monetary grant.

How do they work?

There are two main types of volunteer grant programs. The first is when an employee volunteers for a certain number of hours (generally a minimum of 10-15 hours per year), they are able to receive a monetary grant of up to $X. For example, Dell will offer a $150 grant to eligible nonprofits for every 10 hours an employee has volunteered. The second type of volunteer grant program is structured hourly, like Microsoft. For every hour an employee volunteers, they are eligible to receive a $17 grant.

Why should your organization promote these programs to your donors?

Not only is an individual already donating their time to you (a huge benefit in itself), but your organization may also be eligible for a monetary grant because of the volunteer. If your organization has a steady group of volunteers (or even event-based volunteers), make sure you talk to them about the potential of these grants! Like matching gift programs, individuals may simply not know they exist, so by educating them and creating awareness, they will be more likely to put forth the small effort to apply for the grants.

Fundraising Match Programs:

What are they?

Fundraising match programs are another type of corporate giving in which a company will match funds raised by an employee for a fundraising activity, including runs, walks, and biking events.

How do they work?

Many corporations encourage employee participation in charitable events such as the above, and will incentivize them by offering fundraising matches. Some companies will fully match individual fundraising efforts, and others will match team fundraising efforts!

Why should your organization promote these programs to your donors?

If your nonprofit organization holds fundraising events, these programs can be invaluable to the total amount raised from individuals and teams. These events are meant to inspire and educate the attendees about your cause, and one of the biggest wow factors of the events is the total dollars raised from the participants. Encouraging your donors to talk to their employers about fundraising matches will help bring in even more funds, allowing the final total fundraising announcement to be as big as possible!


Additional Resources:

Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, a company focused on helping nonprofits increase the amount of money they raise from corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Follow Double the Donation on Twitter or LinkedIn.

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